Chancellor Mone joined us and discussed the Academic Staff indefinite appointment policy. Chancellor Mone reported that there are 1672 academic staff on campus, with 470 either on indefinite appointments or having probationary status. We identified how we have similarities with the Madison in teaching and research academic staff. The Board of Regents policies governing what will happen with indefinite status are still being discussed. Chancellor Mone and the University Committee also discussed non-renewal policies and how they are currently being used with fixed-term academic staff. Chancellor Mone is looking into this and is continuing to work with the academic staff on this issue. The UC continues to strongly encourage and supports fair treatment for all employees and that campus policies and procedures be followed.
We discussed the new budget model. Several strong concerns were raised including the following. (1) How will decisions on the use of the subvention fund be made? It is unclear on how campus committees will be involved in these decisions. (2) There are currently strong budgetary disincentives for collaborating across units on delivery of courses; the new budget model does not address this issue. (3) Because tuition revenue is the major source of campus funding, the model does not address effective budget planning mechanisms for research intensive units, or for units that require small class instruction. (4) The model currently does not distinguish, for example, among the costs of instruction in a large lecture, a science lab, or a performing arts class. The model thus could lead to beggar thy neighbor behavior, as units compete for student credit hours (SCH) across campus. In summary, SCH seem to be the largest budget driver in the model, without a clear articulation of how activities that are non-monetary, but central to our mission, are valued or supported at this time.
We hope to discuss these matters further with the faculty and administration to address current budget shortfalls.